About

In these days of distraction and polarization, the Before I Die project offers a modern ritual that restores perspective and invites us to consider the things which connect us.

Renwick Gallery, Washington DC

Thanks to the thousands of people who have created walls in their communities, Before I Die has become a global participatory public art project that reimagines our relationship with death and with one another. The original wall was created on an abandoned house in New Orleans by artist Candy Chang after the death of someone she loved. Since then, over four thousand Before I Die walls have been created in seventy-eight countries around the world. Each wall is created by local residents who want to make a space in their community to restore perspective and share more with one another. Each wall is a tribute to living an examined life.

Frequent Questions

Can Candy Chang speak at my conference or event?

Candy has enjoyed speaking at many universities, conferences, and organizations about community, creativity, and emotional health. These talks directly support her public art works. If you’re interested, please contact the Lavin Agency.

Can I build my own Before I Die wall?

Absolutely! This concept is free for anyone to use so long as it’s not for commercial or promotional use. Find out how to get started here.

Can I make my own version of this concept?

Absolutely. We’re always happy to see non-commercial variations of the Before I Die project. We’ve seen Before I ____ I want to walls that focus on everything from running to aging to graduating to loving your city. If it’s helpful, you’re welcome to use our step-by-step guide and templates, and we hope you might mention your project was inspired by Before I Die.

Is there a digital version of the Before I Die project? Can I make my own app or website?

We’ve experimented with creating a digital Before I Die wall and we’ve learned a few things along the way. First, that scrolling through digital text isn’t nearly as satisfying as seeing the personalities and quirks of individual handwriting. Second, a digital wall quickly becomes a joyless exercise in policing horrible comments from robots, Nazis, trolls, and perverts. It’s not worth it.

How can I support the Before I Die project?

We rely upon donations from companies and organizations, as well as book sales to keep this station up and running, and this allows us to continue developing resources, content, and materials for the Before I Die project. (So please buy a Before I Die journal!)

I like this project. Any others?

You can find other participatory art projects at Ritual Fields.

How can I find out if a Before I Die wall is currently in a particular city?

With dozens of new walls appearing and disappearing each month, we’re unable to keep track of the status of each wall. If you know the organization or individual who created the wall you’re searching for, it might be helpful to get in touch with them directly.

Candy Chang is an artist, TED Fellow, and public speaker. She is represented by The Lavin Agency.

Get in touch

If your organization would like to discuss possible partnerships with the Before I Die project, or if you'd like to share photos or stories from a Before I Die wall, you can use the form belo. If you have questions about creating your own Before I Die wall, please be sure to read through our FAQ. Due to the volume of mail we receive, we are unable to respond to every inquiry.

Optional: share a hi-res photo of your wall (2000 pixels or wider)

“Before I Die is merely one of the most creative community projects ever.”

The Atlantic